2021 VOLKSWAGEN ID.4 1st EDITION

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2021 Volkswagen ID.4 1st edition

It takes some work

Story and photos by David Colman
Special correspondent for THE AUTO CHANNEL

Volkswagen took a seat at the e-car banquet table a little late. From an environmental point of view, they have landed on the wrong foot by selling millions of so-called “clean” diesels, cleverly designed to scam smog testers. After Dieselgate, the company fired the bosses responsible for the nefarious project, paid countless millions in fines at home and abroad, and approved the construction of a nationwide network of electric charging stations in the USA called Electrify America. When this network reached operational status, the company realized that it didn’t have its own long-range electric car to use the charging stations it built itself. A Golf with an electric motor was a transitional measure, with E-Power replacing the gas drive for which the Golf was originally designed. In addition, the e-Golf suffered from a short driving range, a major anxiolytic weakness.


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2021 Volkswagen ID.4 1st edition

Enter ID.4 2021, the first VW designed from the ground up as an electric car. Although the debutante is available in several equipment variants (Pro, Pro S and 1st Edition), the “1st Edition” will be sold this year. You will know it from afar because it has chrome-plated insignia with the inscription “1.” on both sides. wearing. The most noticeable advantage of choosing this celebratory offering is a set of 20-inch staggered width alloy wheels wrapped in hard (TW 580) Bridgestone Alenza A / S rubber (235 / 50R20 front; 255 / 40R20 rear). These shimmering spoked wheels put the appealing lines of the new ID.4 in the limelight. And despite their long-lasting tread rating, they also do a commendable job of cutting vertices on challenging two-lane country roads.


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2021 Volkswagen ID.4 1st edition

The other attributes of the 1st Edition include a pretty amazing interior that covers all the seats in Galaxy Black V-Tex synthetic leather. “ID.4” is discreetly engraved in the backrests of the front buckets. The dark seats are joined by a black headliner and a heavily tinted panoramic fixed glass roof with electrically operated black sun protection. The prevailing gloom of all the noir is offset by a shocking splash of white that covers the instrument panel, the dashboard crossmember and the steering wheel itself, emblazoned with “1st” in the V of the lower spoke.

If you look at the pedals of this playfully decorated VW, you will find the go pedal marked with a triangle for “play”, while the brake pedal has a parallel bar for “pause”. In the middle of the dashboard sits a huge 12.3-inch touchscreen that controls practically all functions of the ID.4. Unfortunately, this nerve center resists simple use. We struggled to find out what tricky maneuvers were required to control the infotainment system. Even after a week we never felt entirely competent in our search for the simplest of tasks, like changing the SiriusXM band or installing a favorites menu.

Driving the ID.4 is just as daunting for someone who is used to being in control of their immediate automotive environment. The fun begins when you approach this VW with the key fob in your pocket. While the door unlocks automatically, you slide into the seat and find that the ID.4 is ready to drive without any action on your part. VW calls this parlor trick “waking up” because the car senses your presence and starts up intuitively. This disturbing trait requires a deliberate release of disbelief on the part of the driver, who may not be mentally ready to drive right away. For normality, VW equips the ID.4 with a stop / start button on the steering column, which, according to the company, should never be used in normal operation.

The ID.4 drives rough. It jerks and lurches over imperfections in the sidewalk that would go unnoticed by a number of similarly sized crossover SUVs. Due to its low battery placement and tall cabin structure, the ID.4 creates a lot of headache when you quickly switch directions from side to side. This aggravated movement can catch inmates unprepared as they are suddenly whipped back and forth. But nobody has to worry about locking their necks when they press the accelerator pedal, because this electric car is slower than the competition on the straight. The problem with this is that the ID.4 weighs 4,698 lbs. With an output of just 201 horsepower, you’re dealing with a mediocre power-to-weight ratio of 23.3 pounds / horsepower. That number, in turn, produces a less than scintillating 0-60mph run of 7.6 seconds and a standing start quarter mile sprint of 16 seconds at 86mph.


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2021 Volkswagen ID.4 1st edition


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2021 Volkswagen ID.4 1st edition


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2021 Volkswagen ID.4 1st edition

The user interface of the ID.4 has more than a touch of home appliance in it. The forward / reverse lever is whimsical and insignificant. The exterior mirror controls feel cheap and inaccurate. If you want to lower all four windows, you must first select “front”, then “rear” via a few poorly demarcated switches on the driver’s armrest. Doing this while driving is a ridiculous task. But the way into the electric future will be fraught with such inconsistencies, won’t it? And the biggest question of all will be, “Where is the nearest Electrify America charging station?

2021 VOLKSWAGEN ID.4 1st EDITION

    MOTOR: Permanent magnet synchronous AC
    PS: 201PS
    TORQUE: 229 lb.-ft.
    POWER CONSUMPTION: 104 MPGe City / 89 MPGe Highway
    PRICE AS TESTED: $ 45,190

HYPES: cute looks, 250 miles range

GRIPES: Ox-cart ride, poor lateral support

STAR RATING: 7 stars out of 10

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